The Hole Story

The Hole Story

Seeing the wood from the trees is important. However, sometimes when you rearrange the trees, the wood looks different. Demonstrate this with a simple piece of paper and some scissors.

Guide lines
Ready, Steady, Go!

Cut a piece of cardboard or paper into four pieces (as seen in the photo) and call someone over.


Want to see the world’s most low budget optical illusion?

Lend me your ears

Slightly separate the cut pieces apart, then turn them around.

Then get the person to put the pieces back into the square shape, within the square block on the page.

Seal the Deal and Reveal

The pieces will still fit into the square, but there will now be a hole missing in the middle.


Where did that missing piece go?

Some extra lines you can try

  • Hole-y Mole-y… How is that even possible?
  • This defies logic, like Donald Trump’s hairstyle.
  • Is this proof that black holes exist?
Alternative ending

Show the person the puzzle without taking it apart and ask them to put it back together from the start. Before you do, do some pretend wizard hand gestures suggesting that you’ve stolen a piece from the block right in front of their eyes.

Anticipated responses and retorts

How does that work?

Black hole perhaps.

How do you explain the missing square?

I can’t figure this out myself. But I can repeat it over and over.

Is that the whole story?

Funny. It is the hole story.
Good follow ups
When & where
When to use it
  • When you want to stump people.
  • When you need to create intrigue.
  • When you want to get out of a hole.
Where to use it
  • informal meetings
  • team building events
  • mentoring
  • socializing at the pub
Getting ready
Items required
  • A piece of paper or cardboard
  • Play with this on your own a few times.
Training required
  • Make sure to get a good feel for this – give this a few test runs.
Watch out (potential unexpected effects)
  • It may confuse a few people, and even yourself.

type type

Do It Yourself (DIY)

material material

a piece of paper or some cardboard

size size

you should have these lying around the house and the office

durability durability

paper is paper

source source

the ether

time to impact time to impact

pretty much there and then

size of audience size of audience

one-on-one or a small group

possible health risk possible health risk

can confuse even the clearest of minds

reusable how many times you can use it

once or twice

training needed training needed

give this a test drive first and you will be all set

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